Situated between two volcanic parks and along the coast of Central
America’s largest lake, the colonial town of Granada, Nicaragua, makes
the perfect base for exploration of the country’s wild landscapes. In
Masaya Volcano National Park, about 20 miles west of the city, I stared
deep into a rocky caldera, straining my eyes in the sulfuric air to catch a
glimpse of the lava that locals say glows ;ery red on clear nights. Just south
of Granada at Mombacho Volcano National Preserve, a hike into a cloud
forest transported me to an otherworldly realm: A near-perpetual tropical
mist blankets the dormant volcano, while dense, lush vegetation blossoms
untamed beneath the humid, gray mass.
On a boat trip across the seemingly in;nite Lake Nicaragua to
Ometepe, an island formed by two volcanoes, we lost all sight of land,
leaving me feeling unmoored, like an ancient explorer adri; at sea.
Once on solid ground, I discovered that the seemingly serene island
is bursting with life. During a tour through Parque Ecologico Charco
Verde, a protected area between the volcanoes, my guide — a local as
enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge as he was about wildlife —
pointed out creatures such as lizards, spotted birds, capuchin and howler
monkeys, snakes and giant solider ants.
Tour operator Nicaragua Adventures, which has been guiding
visitors since 1999, has a wide range of multiday options for clients, from
luxury, cultural and family trips to multisport adventures. Make sure
an itinerary includes a boat or kayaking tour through Las Isletas, an area
on Lake Nicaragua’s northwestern coast that contains about 365 small
islands formed by a large eruption of Mombacho some 20,000 years ago.
History and architecture
bu;s will love Granada’s
many colonial buildings.
Hike up a volcano
on Ometepe Island.
The area has
for viewing wildlife.